The Town of Oyster Bay Democrats are calling upon Supervisor John Venditto to immediately fire Planning Commissioner Fred Ippolito following the recent news of his arrest in federal court on tax evasion charges.
Ippolito allegedly was paid more than $2 million by Old Bethpage-based Carlo Lizza and Sons Paving, Inc. from 2008 to 2013, which he never reported on his tax returns and only recently reported on his town financial disclosure form, according to the indictment from the Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ippolito, 76, of Syosset, is the president of CAI Associates, LTD, a consulting and snow removal business, and a former officer of CAI Restaurant, Inc., better known as Christiano’s in Syosset. If convicted, Ippolito faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the six counts.
“Tax evasion victimizes every taxpaying American,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. “We and our partners in the IRS will continue to aggressively identify and pursue all individuals—including public officials—who evade their taxes. No one is above the law.”
When he heard of the charges, Woodbury resident Mike Siff, a former prosecutor who is planning on running for town office this November, said, “Given the seriousness of these alleged crimes involving a commissioner who oversees millions of our tax dollars secretly working on the side for a major town contractor, I see no option for a supervisor other than terminating that commissioner.”
John Capobianco, spokesman for the Oyster Bay Dems, said that the arrest of one of Venditto’s commissioners is troubling at best.
“The arrest of one of John Venditto’s most trusted commissioners begs the question: when and what did the Supervisor know about Ippolito’s decades long affiliation with Carlo Lizza and Sons Paving, Inc., one of the town’s major contractors?” he said. “Sadly, this is standard operating procedure in the Town of Oyster Bay: insiders profit from their positions of influence while taxpayers are left holding the bag of constantly higher taxes.”
But according to Town of Oyster Bay spokeswoman Marta Kane, the Democrats appeal is “nothing more than a publicity stunt that does not warrant a response.”
“However, residents should understand that the allegations leveled against Commissioner Ippolito are purely personal in nature and do not involve his official duties with the Town of Oyster Bay,” Kane said. “In addition, the town has every confidence that the federal authorities involved are more than capable of handling this matter. And since every American is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law, an appropriate respect for our legal system should dictate that even those pursuing a highly partisan political agenda refrain from engaging in tabloid sensationalism until the justice system has run its course.”